The Supreme Court, in a five-four decision, upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The justices ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the commerce clause, but can go ahead as a tax.
The individual mandate requires that all people must buy health insurance. For insurance companies, that means they’ll be getting a large, new pool of customers. In Wyoming, 17-percent of the population is currently uninsured, compared to a nationwide average of 16-percent.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming President and C-E-O, Rick Schum, says that his company is working to implement the new rules, but Wyoming presents special challenges. “In Wyoming we face a different health care system, in a very rural, almost frontier state, where health care is dispersed across a vast amount of land. There are healthcare provider shortages in various parts of the state. And so we have our own issues here in Wyoming,” said Schum.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack previously spoke of the effect of the healthcare overhaul law in rural communities. Vilsack says the law encourages providers to practice in rural areas and increases payment to those providers who do.